Award winning canal project confident about future delivery
Stroud District Council is hopeful of securing further funding to support the delivery of the successful canal restoration project, which recently won a prestigious national Waterway Renaissance Award.
Earlier this year, the council announced that it had not been able to secure a suitable developer to deliver the vision for Brimscombe Port.
The expectation at the time the council approved the project in 2008 was that a private sector led redevelopment of the Port would provide the funding to construct the canal and basin.
However, following a market testing exercise, it became clear that in the present economic climate, not only would private sector developers not provide funding for the project but they also required several million pounds of additional public sector investment.
SDC Executive to meet
Members of the council’s new Executive will next week to consider a report outlining the options available to the scheme.
“The canal project has been a tremendous success as anyone who walks the towpaths on a regular basis as I do will testify” says Cllr Roger Sanders, Executive Member for Regeneration.
“However, as a direct result of the recession, we currently do not have the funding available to complete the scheme. The options really are to make a case for further funding or to deliver a smaller scheme with a reduced budget.”
“I am proposing that the council should present a compelling case to both the Heritage Lottery Fund and Homes and Communities Agency, for further investment of up to 10m to deliver the scheme we all envisaged back in 2008.”
Cllr Sanders’ proposal was endorsed by Elizabeth Payne, Chairman of the Cotswold Canals Trust, who said…
"We recognise the economic realities of the current situation and fully support the council in any decision to seek further investment from the HCA and HLF to complete this visionary scheme."
Brimscombe Port remains a priority
Irrespective of the outcome of the application for further funding, delivering the widely held vision for Brimscombe Port remains a priority for the Council and its partners.
“We are currently in discussions with a housing association to construct up to 60 affordable homes on the site which would represent the first phase of the redevelopment of the Port.” Cllr Sanders added.
“We are also in advanced negotiations with a leisure operator who wishes to start a new business which will create much needed jobs for our local economy. I am sure that others will follow this lead.”
Festival success showed potential
“The new administration at Stroud District Council is right behind the canal project,” said Cllr Sanders.
“The recent Stroud on Water festival clearly showed the canal’s potential – people loved seeing boats on the canal and there was excitement in the air.
"This is about adapting to changing circumstances and finding the best way to get what we all want.”